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Thread: Vegetable-Tanned Vachetta (Naked Unfinished) - Antique vegetable-tanned/vachetta/naked chair -- did I ruin it trying to clean with a neetsfoot-based "dressing"?

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    Default Vegetable-Tanned Vachetta (Naked Unfinished) - Antique vegetable-tanned/vachetta/naked chair -- did I ruin it trying to clean with a neetsfoot-based "dressing"?

    Hi and I'm brand new and I really hope you can help me.

    Here is my conundrum. I may have really messed up by using a leather dressing (I chose it because it said it was non-darkening)…

    Ok, so, from the beginning.

    I inherited this beautiful leather chair from my father that he’s had since I can remember. It’s at least 40/45 years old and may have been purchased in Chile where we lived from about 1969 to ’73:

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    Picture #1
    My dad attached the seat with sailing line. I've since replaced them. You can see them below and I'd like to age those to match the now much browner chair.

    It retained that gorgeous milky brightness all these years, but there were some stains I wanted to deal with. Here are a few:

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    Picture #2
    stain on backrest, unknown origin.

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    Picture #3
    close up of the seat, also pretty light staining.

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    Picture #4
    closeup of one of the arms of the chair. cracky and spotty.

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    Picture #5
    This is the rear panel of the backrest, bigger splashing here and once I worked on it with that Lexol "non-darkening" dressing, it brought out rings which must be water from a glass sitting on it... you can see that below.

    After a lot of reading all over the internet, I decided this product made with Neatsfoot oil and claiming to be non-darkening would be safe to use (Lexol).

    While I was waiting for that to arrive, I tested some DIY solutions I found on the internet (I know, I know…) on the underside of the seat and was alarmed at the instant degradation of the surface.

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    Picture #6
    I don't know if spots like this are reparable without your sculpting/spackling product.

    I got the dressing, tested it and still wasn’t sure what to do when my 16 year old son, who also loves the chair, came in all sweaty from a bike ride and sat right down on it. Next time I looked at the chair I found this:

    Attachment 5451Attachment 5452
    Pictures #7 & #8

    The darker color on the leather overall is just mainly due to the lighting--at least at the top of the back you can see where it isn't affected by the sweat--that's just darker due to bulb lighting at night. His shirt has a rubbery kind of printing on the back, that’s why it has that batik-like printing effect. So that’s sweat. No idea at all what the other older stains would have been. In any case, the fact that by the next morning the sweat stains seemed to have gotten worse, making kind of black-looking pits where it had soaked in on the back and seat made me feel like I had to do SOMEthing rather than just keep on researching.

    So I went for it with baby wipes (“natural, unscented” another internet suggestions which… I know, I know…) and the Lexol non-darkening dressing.

    It didn’t remove the marks from the tee-shirt or really any of the old stains, but it definitely mellowed the contrast on the lettering and seems to have brought up the pitting to some degree. I’m quite sad that I’ve lost that glossy pale surface and I was also sad to see that lots of cracks seem to have appeared (it must be just bringing them out, but still)…

    So here is the chair as it is now after my misguided efforts.

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    Picture #9

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    Picture #10

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    Picture #11

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    Picture#12

    Finally I found the similar looking chairs you consulted on here on this forum and read everything here that I could. I bought the Vachetta Browning Removal kit and also a bottle of Acidifier 2.0 based on what I read here.

    So I haven’t done anything further to the chair. I received the kit but I figured I’d better wait to hear what the doctor recommends. I do realize that a lot of that cracking and stuff will not be healable without basically spackling it. I'm wondering how I might go about doing what I can to make this leather healthy again.

    Thank you so much!!

    Numbered the pictures... Thanks again!!
    Last edited by erika; 09-04-2015 at 01:17 PM. Reason: numbered the pictures

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    Default pictures 7 & 8

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    Picture #7

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    Picture #8

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    Thanks for the help, Roger.

    The seat and back add up to roughly 325 sq. inches, there are some belts too of course and the two arm slings add up to 150 sq inches together. So maybe 1200 sq. inches or so?

    I think you don't mean total amount the leather I have weighs, but the "weight" which I'm not sure how to measure... but it’s mostly about 3 or 4 mm thick, with the arms being about double that. Maybe 8mm.

    Does that give you tell you how much fatliquor I need? I already have a 250 ml spray bottle of it that came in my Vachetta kit. On the page you gave me, it talks about applying it with the foam brush, not spraying?

    Also, I doubt I'd be able to get the hydrometer, but since I'm doing it to full saturation I guess I can do it by how it looks?

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    I forgot to add that there are some belts that can’t add up to a whole lot. You can see the double-strap holders at the sides in pictures #7 and 8 above they’re fairly thin. The rest of the straps along the bottom are thin and single width.

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    It looks like picture #11 has been removed from the frame - correct, if so can we weight it?

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    Yes! On my bathroom scale (mediocre quality) it shows about 3lbs, maybe just under. Does that help?

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    Yes it helps!

    Is the reverse side the front of the back rest, Can you show pictures including the edge as well.

    We need to estimate how much Fatliquor-5.0 you will need before the leather dries too dry that leads to cracks as you have experience, besides removing the stains.

    What is the total surface area in one layer thickness and I believe it is two layers - right?

    We would then able to work out the weight per square inch from here and you can used the calculation to apply to the other areas as well.
    Last edited by Roger Koh; 09-10-2015 at 09:15 AM.

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    >>> Yes! On my bathroom scale (mediocre quality) it shows about 3lbs, maybe just under. Does that help?


    Some cracks are already showing on this picture #11 from the bottom left square and the top right square. Any wetting and drying cycle will further degenerate or magnify the cracks unless the it is fatliquor replenished sufficiently up to the optimum 14% fatliquor content (fat and oil) level when dry. Fatliquor replenishing is the last of the continuous cleaning and restoration cycle before the leather is allows being fully dry. In a continuous cleaning process the leather total moisture level is retain at about 25% during the transition period. This precaution is to prevent the leather from drying too stiff, shrink and result in cracks magnified.

    Fatliquor-5.0 is an ionic positive (+ve) charged emulsion of fat, oil and water. One part fat and oil will remain on the leather ionic negative (-ve) charged structure and five parts of the encasing water will break free and evaporates to the surface.

    The back seat weights less than 3lbs or 1360gm

    To top-up 10% of fat and oil by weight will require 816gm of Fatliquor-5.0.
    To top-up 7% of fat and oil by weight will require 571gm of Fatliquor-5.0
    To top-up 3% of fat and oil by weight will require 245gm of Fatliquor-5.0

    The existing fatliquor content is only known by reading with a leather moisture meter or an equivalent wood moisture meter to know how much topping up is necessary.

    A guess of less than 7% remaining fatliquor is probable close to the actual reading.

    The 250gm Fatliquor-5.0 at hand is only allowing a 3% topping-up, which will be quite risky to proceed as the potential to magnify the existing cracks during the drying process. A very slow drying process helps reduce stiffness to the leather is the only consolation.

    The lifeblood of leather is the fatliquor!

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    I figured out that the best size of fatliquor would be the quart fill bottle as that would add up to plenty to get me to the 10% level for the chair.

    I just wanted to see if I understand your recommendation.

    You're saying I would need to BEGIN by rehydrating the chair and THEN do the cleaning?

    So it would be like this?

    1. Hydrator>Fatliquor>Hydrator routine until fully rehydrated
    2. Vachetta-pre1.2
    3. Vachetta 2.8
    4. Acidifier 2.0 (because of the sweat and the unknown earlier spills)
    5. Protector-D

    OR did you mean:

    1. Hydrator>Fatliquor>Hydrator routine, partial use of my supply
    2. Vachetta-pre1.2
    3. Vachetta 2.8
    4. Acidifier 2.0
    5. Hydrator>Fatliquor>Hydrator the rest of my supply up to the 10% top-up
    6. Protector-D

    OR did you just mean the typical routine beginning with the Vachetta-Pre and finishing with the entire Hydrator>Fatliquor>Hydrator routine followed by the Protector?

    Thank you! I ordered the extra fatliquor this morning.

    (PS I'd missed that you asked for a picture of the edge of the backrest, that is picture #10, it shows the wrap-around of the back, the cut edge where it meets again and the hole where it is attached to the wooden frame (through to a wooden stay that goes inside the wrapped part).

  10. #10
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    >>> I figured out that the best size of fatliquor would be the quart fill bottle as that would add up to plenty to get me to the 10% level for the chair.

    You will also need the Hydrator-3.3 about the same amount as well in the Hydrator-3.3 > Fatliquor-5.0 system.


    >>> I just wanted to see if I understand your recommendation. OR did you just mean the typical routine beginning with the Vachetta-Pre and finishing with the entire Hydrator>Fatliquor>Hydrator routine followed by the Protector?

    Refer to this Vegetable-Tanned (V) Vachetta – Leather Problem Solving Guide matrix.

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    This leather has the “Stain” and “Structure” problems.
    The two category of stains identify under “Stain Type” are:
    1st - pH Related Browning – Sweat, Alkaline Cleaner, Baking Soda,
    2nd – Sun-Tanning, Browning Discoloration, Tannin and Tarnish
    and the ‘Structure Problems’ is identified as ‘Dryness & Stiffness’
    with their corresponding steps to follow.

    This compound situation will take two phase, 1st phase is to reduce the browning effect by balancing its pH using VachettaPre-1.2 with a pH value of 1.2 and works by penetrating, lubricating and suspending the foreign contamination and protonating the amphoteric leather protein fiber ionic positive (+ve). This process is to bring the pH value to the original pH chemistry of the leather back to its isoelectric point or pI or pH neutral of 2.5 to 3.5.
    Follows by Acidifier-2.0 (pH 2.0) as rinse and protonate as a VachettaPre-1.2 > Acidifier-2.0 system (refer to the matrix). It is continue with the Hydrator-3.3 > Fatliquor-5.0 (in the matrix as step 3 & 4) and leave to slow dry.

    When the leather is dry Vachetta-2.8 is used (see matrix under the Sun-Tanning row). Vachetta-2.8 is applied to the entire panel, towel extract surface soiling until towel shows clean and an extra application to ensure that it works by reduction-oxidation (redox) and the leather is “bleached” to a new original biscuit color appearance. The step-2 and 3 is the Hydrator-3.3 > Fatliquor-5.0 > Hydrator-3.3 system (may be skipped when it has been satisfactory done earlier). However residue may be lightly rinse off with Hydrator-3.3, let dry and proceed with Step-4

    Note that insufficient fatliquoring may lead to accelerating cracking to the over-dried existing cracks. Slow natural drying is preferred to achieve a soften leather.

    Products mentioned is found in this Kit-V3+
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    See details of the individual products from this link:

    VachettaPre-1.2
    http://www.leatherdoctor.com/vachettapre-1-2/

    Acidifier-2.0
    http://www.leatherdoctor.com/acidifier-2-0/

    Hydrator-3.3
    http://www.leatherdoctor.com/hydrator-3-3/

    Fatliquor-5.0
    http://www.leatherdoctor.com/fatliquor-5-0/

    Vachetta-2.8
    http://www.leatherdoctor.com/vachetta-2-8/

    Protector-D
    http://www.leatherdoctor.com/protector-d/

    Any question you have, especially understanding how to controlling the further cracking, before you proceed ONLY to the back rest as shown as picture #11.


    Roger Koh
    Leather Care System Formulator / Practitioner / Consultant / Instructor / Coach
    Last edited by Roger Koh; 09-12-2015 at 12:33 PM.

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    Thank you! I'll post pictures and a report once I receive the extra supplies I just ordered and let you know how it goes!

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    I've gotten through the first phase, and I'm in the slow drying phase. I have it soaked with hydrator and fatliquor and wrapped in plastic. I'm wondering how slow is slow. Should I be leaving it open instead of in the plastic?

    I used vachetta 1.2 and some acidifier first, but I was concerned with the surface being so delicate. As it took liquid it definitely got ready to peel apart so I went on and loaded it with hydrator/fatliquor... but then I made a big goof and when I started on the arms, I accidentally used up the whole rest of the spray bottle of vachetta 1.2 thinking it was the hydrator! I followed with actual hydrator and fatliquor, so I'm hoping it's going to be ok... I tried a little bit of vachetta 2.8 on the seat since I was out of the 1.2, but it was clear that was too strong at this stage, so I just went on and saturated with hyd/fat...

    Some pictures of starting on it....

    1. Before
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    2.
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    3.
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    4. did the backside of the leather too, and did my best to get it into sewn loops of it too. The only thing that I can't reach are the arms which are two layers sewn back to back. (no pic of arm yet)
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    5.
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    6.wrapping everything up in plastic.
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    7. I think this is the brand on the cow that's come out.
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  13. #13
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    >>> I've gotten through the first phase, and I'm in the slow drying phase. I have it soaked with hydrator and fatliquor and wrapped in plastic.

    >>> I'm wondering how slow is slow. Should I be leaving it open instead of in the plastic?


    This leather types traditionally has been soak up average 6 months from the commercial tannery.
    The slow dwell (keep the leather saturated with a little moisture oozing out when press between finger and thumb) will separates the common stick-together fiber structure opening it up so that the fatliquor can easily penetrates in between the inter-fibrillary spaces and plumps and lubricates it for suppleness. So up to 6 days with constant high level of moisture content is reasonable with this crack leather. Remember that once the moisture evaporates it has to be replaced with Fatliquor-5.0 before it gets too dry to about 25%.



    >>> I used vachetta 1.2 and some acidifier first, but I was concerned with the surface being so delicate. As it took liquid it definitely got ready to peel apart so I went on and loaded it with hydrator/fatliquor... but then I made a big goof and when I started on the arms, I accidentally used up the whole rest of the spray bottle of vachetta 1.2 thinking it was the hydrator! I followed with actual hydrator and fatliquor, so I'm hoping it's going to be ok...


    The slow dwell will help to redistribute the 4 products used so far – so slow, long dwell helps overall (top the moisture level up with Hydrator-3.3).


    >>> I tried a little bit of vachetta 2.8 on the seat since I was out of the 1.2, but it was clear that was too strong at this stage, so I just went on and saturated with hyd/fat...

    Use Vachetta-2.8 when the leather is completely dry and is a light surface treatment or bleaching after Fatliquor-5.0 dries and Eraser-4 dry cleaning.

    Show pictures to help you see better.

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    How is the going?

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